ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has announced it intends to lease seven acres of Balloon Fiesta Park to New Mexico United for a multi-purpose stadium. The city says that the soccer team will be required to invest at least $30 million into the site and that no city funding will be used for the construction of the stadium. However, Mayor Tim Keller said Friday the city will spend at least around $10 million of existing city and state funding for infrastructure upgrades on the site; including ground, electric, and sewer work.

According to the news release, “The state has provided capital to the City of Albuquerque for infrastructure improvements that will provide needed upgrades at Balloon Fiesta Park.” The lease term is currently set at 30 years; however, the option is available to extend it for two 15-year terms. The lease will be introduced on Monday, October 2, and must be approved by the Albuquerque City Council.

The agreement comes with the following stipulations:

  • United will not be allowed to host games during the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
  • The planned site will not interfere with ballooning in the area
  • In addition to paying annual rent, United will pay the city a percentage of its parking revenue

Mayor Keller released the following statement on the stadium plans:

“Albuquerque families deserve world-class amenities, and we won’t give up on projects like a stadium that fulfill these quality-of-life needs. Leasing underutilized land at Balloon Fiesta Park not only helps United grow, but also enriches one of our most frequented areas and provides new economic opportunities – a significant win for our city and a potential game-changer for our community.”

Tim Keller

At a Friday press conference, Keller spoke further on the lease agreement. “This is going to be a private stadium, and so what we have allowed for in the lease agreement is roughly ten days where the city can use it for city events,” said Keller. “We have also built into this lease agreement, by request, that it be used and available for soccer championships.”

Two years ago, Albuquerque voters rejected a bond question that would have paid for a city-owned soccer stadium. The owner of New Mexico United, Peter Trevisani, issued the following statement about the stadium plans:

“It should come as no surprise that we’ve been working relentlessly for several years to find a location and a plan that would not only be a catalyst for our community but also ensure the longevity of New Mexico United. This plan does that. We’re excited to privately build a stadium that creates jobs and economic impact, improves Balloon Fiesta Park, and shows that New Mexicans can do whatever they set their minds to.”

Peter Trevisani

Concerns have been raised about how a stadium might impact balloon fiesta in coming years. However, in a statement sent by a spokesperson for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the group says those concerns have been addressed.

“The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s Board of Directors met with representatives of the City of Albuquerque and New Mexico United last month to learn more about the impact of a potential United stadium on Balloon Fiesta’s operations,” the statement said. “Three key areas of concern were raised during that meeting: parking, access to Balloon Fiesta Park and infrastructure improvements. We continue to receive these assurances and look forward to continuing the conversation to achieve these goals.”

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta spokesperson
  • Rendering of United Stadium | Courtesy of David Carl with New Mexico United
  • Balloon Fiesta park site map. Courtesy of City of Albuquerque